Canadians Still Need the Pandemic Supports That the Liberals Ended

As Omicron cases surge, the Liberal government is leaving Canadian workers and vulnerable seniors without support  

OTTAWA – As new public health measures are announced to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, Canadians are worried about their health but also about paying their bills and putting food on the table without pandemic supports. The Liberal government’s plan to provide aid to Canadians doesn’t cover people affected by partial lockdowns. As restaurant, tourism sector and service sector workers see their hours drastically reduced, the NDP is calling on the federal government to ensure people have the financial supports they still need.

“Canadians are tired of the pandemic—we’re all tired. But Justin Trudeau can’t just decide he’s finished providing pandemic supports to people when provinces are recording thousands of new cases per day,” said NDP finance critic Daniel Blaikie. “We pushed back against the government’s inadequate proposal for pandemic supports because we knew it would leave too many people behind and that’s exactly what is happening right now. This government has got to help those workers whose hours have been drastically reduced. They have to help the self-employed people who have no idea how they’re going to keep paying their bills. New Democrats won’t turn their backs on these people. We’ll keep pushing until the government acts.”

The federal government is also leaving vulnerable seniors in a dire situation. The NDP critic for seniors, Rachel Blaney, and other NDP MPs have been advocating for low-income seniors who were cut off the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for months. Following the fiscal update where the government committed to a one-time payment to correct the problem, seniors were devastated to learn that the money isn’t coming until May 2022.

Blaney’s office has received hundreds of calls from low-income seniors who are pleading to get back the GIS support that the government has clawed back from them.

“I don’t have any words for what this government is putting low-income seniors through,” said Blaney. “Just last night, I heard of one man who died by suicide because he felt so alone and hopeless after learning that the financial help he needed wasn’t coming for five months. These are people’s lives. Seniors are facing homelessness; they can’t pay for their medicine or food. How can this government tell them to wait months? The Liberal government is abandoning vulnerable Canadian seniors at Christmas.”

New Democrats are urging the Liberal government to reinstate pandemic supports for workers and small businesses and to make meaningful changes to the Employment Insurance program for Canadians.

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